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Social media is no longer a nice to have. It isn’t even a necessity. It is as important as your phone, agency management system and staff. In other words, it is an essential business tool. If you are not active on social media, your agency is at risk of becoming irrelevant. The good news is, you don’t have to stop your day-to-day and become a social media expert to have an effective presence. Here are 8 tips to get your agency noticed online.

Understand Your Audience

Assuming you know your ideal client profile, you have to truly understand this group. I’m not talking about demographics, I mean truly understand them. You have to research to see how they interact with companies online. What type of content do they consume? When are they online? What tone do they respond to?

Where your audience is, has as much to do with their emotional presence as their physical one. Different groups have different words and ideas that reach them powerfully, and other ideas or words that they ignore or skim over. By understanding your audience’s preferences and what resonates with them, you can speak to them in a way they identify with. When it is time to buy, renew or update their coverage, you will be higher on your clients’ minds than the competition because of how you speak to your customers on social media.

This will help you craft your strategy so it resonates with your intended audience.

Know Where They Are 

There are thousands of social media sites from Facebook to YouTube to Yelp and beyond. There are two common reasons insurance agencies typically fail to put together a great social strategy:

1. They are overwhelmed at the number of places they can be, so they do nothing.

2. They try to be everywhere without truly understanding the platforms.

In order to craft a great social strategy, you need to understand where your ideal clients are the most (i.e. fish in the right pond, so to speak), and understand those places fully. What works on Facebook does not work on LinkedIn.

Publish Your and Others’ Relevant Content

Relevance is not limited to your content only. Linking to relevant content is an excellent way to build your credibility and let your audience know that you are there to help them. Not every great article is yours, so share from any great source.

Be Consistent

There are a lot of blogs and social media campaigns with half a dozen or so entries. Your online presence is a marathon instead of a sprint, and it is easy to either ignore social media or disable it entirely when the initial excitement wears off.

Act Like the Humans You Are

The days when your company could hide behind a bland, smiling “corporate facade” are over. Today’s audiences are savvier than ever before and trying to lie to them about who you are and what you stand for does not work. Being who you are on social media, in a way that is kind and generous to others, makes you more relatable and makes people more likely to see you as people instead of a Big Faceless Corporation.

Don’t Be Afraid

Fear of failure, fear of success… all are detrimental to your social media presence and your agency’s success at being on social media. Being afraid to do something, or to do something unusual or “edgy,” tends to inspire a lack of creativity and a stunted presence. Be bold, be creative, and show what your agency is all about.

Have a look at what Pablo Beach Insurance Group is doing. What does kayaking near the Jacksonville Beach Pier have to do with Insurance? Nothing, yet they have over 5,000 views on this Facebook video in just a short time. One of their videos reached more than 100K visitors in less than a month – at zero cost!

Set Goals So You Aren’t Flying Blind. What is Your Win?

Stephen Covey made “beginning with the end in mind” his second of the seven habits. The importance of determining what you want your victory conditions to be cannot be overstated. You need to understand why you are doing social in order to determine if it’s working along the way.

EVERYTHING Should Be Focused on Brand Awareness or Driving Web Traffic

Your agency’s identity and getting people to a place where they can move further down your marketing funnel are what social media does best. A portion of your social media traffic can result in an immediate direct sale, but more importantly, you need to be top of mind in your marketplace; and your social media presence should be focused on driving traffic to your site. Show who you are, then guide your audience to your site.

*This article originally published as a guest post on Anchor Insurance.